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How did PNoy fare?

PNoy was not my candidate for President in the 2010 elections, but he was certainly head and shoulders above the rest of the “frontrunners”—former president Joseph Estrada and Sen. Manny Villar. The smell of corruption surrounding these two were enough to make one’s head turn away.

So when he won, I derived some comfort from the fact that at least the Philippines was spared from a more miserable fate. And he had two things going for him: (1) He was unencumbered by a potentially exploitative wife and/or greedy offspring, which from bitter experience, would have a deleterious effect on the country; and (2) he had a degree in economics, which I think equips one to make better decisions than most.

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I can hear your reaction, Reader: Gloria Arroyo had a PhD in economics, for heaven’s sake. And where did that leave us? I can only say that she was, unlike Aquino, encumbered.

Well, how did PNoy fare? I will dwell only on two aspects: his “Daang Matuwid” or fight against corruption, and his performance on the country’s gross domestic product.

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On the fight against corruption, I offer as evidence Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index (CPI) and its reports on countries’ corruption levels since they were first published in 1995, during Fidel Ramos’ term. Thus, we can compare corruption under five presidents.

The Philippines had a score of 2.8 (0 is the most corrupt, 10 is the cleanest), under Ramos; we were 36th out of 41 countries included. Definitely in the bottom third.

Then in 2000 (Estrada), it was still 2.8, which means no improvement in corruption, and we were ranked 69th out of 90 countries—still bottom third.

Fast forward to 2005, in the middle of Arroyo’s 10-year term: The CPI had deteriorated to 2.5, and continued downwards, so that by 2010 when Aquino came in, it was 2.4. So between Ramos and Arroyo, per the CPI, the country had become more corrupt.

In 2011, the Philippines’ CPI was up to 26 (the scale had been changed to 0 to 100, with 0 being the most corrupt and 100 the cleanest). In 2012, it shot up to 34, the highest level in 17 years. It increased to 36 in 2013 and to 38 in 2014, its peak. Those were great leaps, relatively, for the Philippines which was, for the first time, in the top half of countries. And our CPI was higher than our Asean-5 neighbors. But we still had a long way to go.

Unfortunately, that was short-lived. Our CPI deteriorated to 35 in 2015. And in 2017, under Rodrigo Duterte, it went down to 34. In the latest CPI report, we are still at 34, and the Philippines is ranked 115th out of 179 countries.

Takeaway: PNoy’s performance in trying to reduce corruption, judged from Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index, has been the best among his three predecessors and his successor.

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And if this still does not convince you, fellow Filipino, you can see with your own eyes: Any mansions for PNoy? Any luxuries? Not one. His house in Times Street is proof positive that he did not enrich himself in office.

Now, for his performance on the country’s economic growth. The conventional way would be to compare average growth rates under each presidential administration. But saying that the country’s GDP grew at an average rate of 6.2 percent under PNoy, or 3.8 percent under Marcos, etc. does not really drive the point home to the Reader. So let me try it another way, using the same data:

President Arroyo, in her 10 years of presidency, succeeded in raising the value of the country’s gross domestic product (the market value of the final goods and services produced in the country in a specified period of time) by about P3.6 trillion (at 2018 prices). Population during that period increased by about 14 million.

President Aquino, in his six years of presidency, raised the value of GDP by P4.7 trillion, with the number of Filipinos increasing by about 10 million.

And finally, President Duterte during his 4.75 years in office, has raised the value of GDP by about P2 trillion, even as Filipinos have increased by 6 million.

This shows that Aquino fared better than his immediate predecessor, and it looks like he will fare better than the present regime.

So yes, Ballsy, Pinky, Viel, and Kris, your pride in your brother is well-founded. Our deepest condolences to you and yours.

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TAGS: Noynoy Aquino, President Benigno Aquino III
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